The season premiere of Espn2’s Friday Night Fights will begin in sub zero degree weather at the Target Center from Minneapolis, Minnesota. In the main event IBF Super Featherweight Champion Argenis Mendez takes on unbeaten challenger Rances Barthalemy and serving as the co-feature is local attraction Caleb Truax squaring off with tough as nails Ossie Duran. The event is promoted by Iron Mike Productions, Seconds Out Promotions, and Warrior Boxing.
Both fighters in the main event fought a common opponent in Arash Usamanee last year. Both had close fights with Usamanee, Barthalemy escaping with a narrow win on points although some thought he loss, and Mendez in his last fight battled to a draw but many thought Argenis deserved to have his hand raised.
Mendez is no stranger to controversial decisions after feeling he was robbed in the past fighting in his opponent’s backyard in Mexico and Colorado. Mendez has recently stated in many interviews that he will do his best not to leave it in the hands of the judges.
At the press conference and weigh in Mike Tyson stole the show with his celebrity status. Also in attendance was rising trainer John David Jackson who used to train Barthalemy before signing on to become co-head coach for Iron Mike Productions, Jackson will now be in the opposite corner working with Argenis Mendez.
Local favorite Caleb Truax made a splash the last time he fought on the Friday Night Fights broadcast in June by knocking out the sturdy and more experienced Don George, improving his ranking and raising his profile in the process. After receiving calls from Top Rank and Golden Boy Promotions about future options Truax stayed busy scoring a 4th round KO over his local rival Cerresso Fort in September.
Originally Caleb was scheduled to fight Derek Ennis before Ennis pulled out with a rib injury forcing the rough and tumble Ossie Duran to step in on 3 week’s notice. Duran is known for his toughness proving to be a hard matchup for many high profile names including a great brawl against than hot prospect James Kirkland and a split decision loss to Brandon Gonzales.
Tony Grygelko, C.E.O. of Seconds Out Promotions and Truax have their eyes on the prize but will be patient in 2014 waiting for the right place at the right time for a title shot or an opportunity on a bigger network.
Also fighting on the undercard under the Iron Mike Productions umbrella will be prospects Dennis Galarza and Erickson Lubin.
Tickets are available at the Target Center’s Box Office, online at AXS.com or by calling 888-929-7849 and are priced at $35, $65, $100, $150, and $250. Doors open at 6pm, first bell at 7pm, Espn Friday Night Fights presented by Corona Extra will go live at 9 ET on Espn2, WatchESPN, and ESPN Deportes plus.